skip to main content

Title: Near-infrared Polarization from Unresolved Disks around Brown Dwarfs and Young Stellar Objects

Wide-field near-infrared (NIR) polarimetry was used to examine disk systems around two brown dwarfs (BDs) and two young stellar objects (YSOs) embedded in the Heiles Cloud 2 (HCl2) dark molecular cloud in Taurus as well as numerous stars located behind HCl2. Inclined disks exhibit intrinsic NIR polarization due to scattering of photospheric light, which is detectable even for unresolved systems. After removing polarization contributions from magnetically aligned dust in HCl2 determined from the background star information, significant intrinsic polarization was detected from the disk systems of one BD (ITG 17) and both YSOs (ITG 15, ITG 25), but not from the other BD (2M0444). The ITG 17 BD shows good agreement of the disk orientation inferred from the NIR and from published Atacama Large Millimeter/submillieter Array dust continuum imaging. ITG 17 was also found to reside in a 5200 au wide binary (or hierarchical quad star system) with the ITG 15 YSO disk system. The inferred disk orientations from the NIR for ITG 15 and ITG 17 are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the local magnetic field direction. The multiplicity of the system and the large BD disk nature could have resulted from formation in an environment characterized by misalignment of the magnetic field and the protostellar disks.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
2009842 2108989
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 67
Article No. 67
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The canonical picture of star formation involves disk-mediated accretion, with Keplerian accretion disks and associated bipolar jets primarily observed in nearby, low-mass young stellar objects (YSOs). Recently, rotating gaseous structures and Keplerian disks have been detected around several massive (M > 8 M) YSOs (MYSOs)1–4, including several disk-jet systems5–7. All the known MYSO systems are in the Milky Way, and all are embedded in their natal material. Here we report the detection of a rotating gaseous structure around an extragalactic MYSO in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The gas motion indicates that there is a radial flow of material falling from larger scales onto a central disk-like structure. The latter exhibits signs of Keplerian rotation, so that there is a rotating toroid feeding an accretion disk and thus the growth of the central star. The system is in almost all aspects comparable to Milky Way high-mass YSOs accreting gas from a Keplerian disk. The key difference between this source and its Galactic counterparts is that it is optically revealed rather than being deeply embedded in its natal material as is expected of such a massive young star. We suggest that this is the consequence of the star having formed in a low-metallicity and low-dust content environment. Thus, these results provide important constraints for models of the formation and evolution of massive stars and their circumstellar disks.

    more » « less
  2. We present new 890 μ m continuum ALMA observations of five brown dwarfs (BDs) with infrared excess in Lupus I and III, which in combination with four previously observed BDs allowed us to study the millimeter properties of the full known BD disk population of one star-forming region. Emission is detected in five out of the nine BD disks. Dust disk mass, brightness profiles, and characteristic sizes of the BD population are inferred from continuum flux and modeling of the observations. Only one source is marginally resolved, allowing for the determination of its disk characteristic size. We conduct a demographic comparison between the properties of disks around BDs and stars in Lupus. Due to the small sample size, we cannot confirm or disprove a drop in the disk mass over stellar mass ratio for BDs, as suggested for Ophiuchus. Nevertheless, we find that all detected BD disks have an estimated dust mass between 0.2 and 3.2 M ⊙ ; these results suggest that the measured solid masses in BD disks cannot explain the observed exoplanet population, analogous to earlier findings on disks around more massive stars. Combined with the low estimated accretion rates, and assuming that the mm-continuum emission is a reliable proxy for the total disk mass, we derive ratios of Ṁ acc ∕ M disk that are significantly lower than in disks around more massive stars. If confirmed with more accurate measurements of disk gas masses, this result could imply a qualitatively different relationship between disk masses and inward gas transport in BD disks. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Accretion is one of the defining characteristics of classical T Tauri stars, fueled by the presence of a circumstellar disk comprised of dust and gas. Accretion produces a UV and optical excess, while re-radiated emission at the inner edge of the dust component of the disk produces a near-infrared (NIR) excess. The interplay between stars and their disks helps regulate protoplanetary disk evolution and dispersal, which is key to a full understanding of planet formation. To investigate the relations between NIR excess and optical excess in both single and binary stars, we used an archival sample of spectroscopically characterized members of the Taurus star-forming region (τ∼ 1–2 Myr) with measured luminosities, spectral types, and optical veiling. We combined the archival sample with the Two Micron All Sky Survey and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer NIR photometry and high-resolution imaging surveys. We found that NIR and optical excesses are correlated in multiple NIR photometric bands, suggesting that they are closely related, likely because more massive disks have higher inner dust disk walls and are also associated with higher accretion rates. We also found that multiplicity has no impact on accretion or inner disk properties in a sample with a wide range of separations, but the sample was too small to specifically investigate close binaries, where the effects of multiplicity on disk properties should be most significant.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Context. Young giant planets and brown dwarf companions emit near-infrared radiation that can be linearly polarized up to several percent. This polarization can reveal the presence of an (unresolved) circumsubstellar accretion disk, rotation-induced oblateness of the atmosphere, or an inhomogeneous distribution of atmospheric dust clouds. Aims. We aim to measure the near-infrared linear polarization of 20 known directly imaged exoplanets and brown dwarf companions. Methods. We observed the companions with the high-contrast imaging polarimeter SPHERE-IRDIS at the Very Large Telescope. We reduced the data using the IRDAP pipeline to correct for the instrumental polarization and crosstalk of the optical system with an absolute polarimetric accuracy <0.1% in the degree of polarization. We employed aperture photometry, angular differential imaging, and point-spread-function fitting to retrieve the polarization of the companions. Results. We report the first detection of polarization originating from substellar companions, with a polarization of several tenths of a percent for DH Tau B and GSC 6214-210 B in H -band. By comparing the measured polarization with that of nearby stars, we find that the polarization is unlikely to be caused by interstellar dust. Because the companions have previously measured hydrogen emission lines and red colors, the polarization most likely originates from circumsubstellar disks. Through radiative transfer modeling, we constrain the position angles of the disks and find that the disks must have high inclinations. For the 18 other companions, we do not detect significant polarization and place subpercent upper limits on their degree of polarization. We also present images of the circumstellar disks of DH Tau, GQ Lup, PDS 70, β Pic, and HD 106906. We detect a highly asymmetric disk around GQ Lup and find evidence for multiple scattering in the disk of PDS 70. Both disks show spiral-like features that are potentially induced by GQ Lup B and PDS 70 b, respectively. Conclusions. The presence of the disks around DH Tau B and GSC 6214-210 B as well as the misalignment of the disk of DH Tau B with the disk around its primary star suggest in situ formation of the companions. The non-detections of polarization for the other companions may indicate the absence of circumsubstellar disks, a slow rotation rate of young companions, the upper atmospheres containing primarily submicron-sized dust grains, and/or limited cloud inhomogeneity. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Context. Protoplanetary disks in dense, massive star-forming regions are strongly affected by their environment. How this environmental impact changes over time is an important constraint on disk evolution and external photoevaporation models. Aims. We characterize the dust emission from 179 disks in the core of the young (0.5 Myr) NGC 2024 cluster. By studying how the disk mass varies within the cluster, and comparing these disks to those in other regions, we aim to determine how external photoevaporation influences disk properties over time. Methods. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, a 2.9′× 2.9′ mosaic centered on NGC 2024 FIR 3 was observed at 225 GHz with a resolution of 0.25″, or ~100 AU. The imaged region contains 179 disks identified at IR wavelengths, seven new disk candidates, and several protostars. Results. The overall detection rate of disks is 32 ± 4%. Few of the disks are resolved, with the exception of a giant ( R = 300 AU) transition disk. Serendipitously, we observe a millimeter flare from an X-ray bright young stellar object (YSO), and resolve continuum emission from a Class 0 YSO in the FIR 3 core. Two distinct disk populations are present: a more massive one in the east, along the dense molecular ridge hosting the FIR 1-5 YSOs, with a detection rate of 45 ± 7%. In the western population, towards IRS 1, only 15 ± 4% of disks are detected. Conclusions. NGC 2024 hosts two distinct disk populations. Disks along the dense molecular ridge are young (0.2–0.5 Myr) and partly shielded from the far ultraviolet radiation of IRS 2b; their masses are similar to isolated 1–3 Myr old SFRs. The western population is older and at lower extinctions, and may be affected by external photoevaporation from both IRS 1 and IRS 2b. However, it is possible these disks had lower masses to begin with. 
    more » « less